Hospital pharmacies are complicated places and pharmacists have a complicated job to do. There are four different forms of drug storage and around 15 different responsibilities for a chief pharmacist to cover.
They range from dispensing controlled substances, training new staff, to provisioning an alternate electricity supply.
Like many roles, pharmacists still have to do time-consuming tasks. One of these is manually going through checking through pill containers that are held in stock for expired pharmaceuticals.
Since 1979, the US Food and Drug Administration has required an expiration date on prescription and over the counter medicine.
It does not require years of training to read a date on a label but locating and removing expired drugs is a crucial requirement for a pharmaceutical dispenser. This is equally true whether the dispenser is located in a hospital or a supermarket.
Unlike an expired pack of cereal, you cannot throw a bottle of expired valium in the trash. It may still be potent and is potentially toxic. So must be destroyed in a controlled manner and this disposal needs to be documented.
More than that, there are also situations where the pharmacy gets a supplier refund. So it also affects revenue.
Quickly and easily locate expired pharmaceutical containers
Periodically, pharmacists need to sort through the bottles by hand and check the expiry dates on the labeling. Despite the digitization of the healthcare sector, we know some pharmacists still use post-its and written lists to locate the right product.
There is no easy way to do it. Until now.
Imagine all your pharmacist had to do was scan the product shelf with a smartphone or tablet. From there Scandit-powered augmented reality (AR) can overlay digital information to a physical object’s image on the device’s screen.
In this case, the AR overlay would show a medication bottle was out of date by highlighting it in red. Bottles that are nearing expiry could be shown in yellow while the remainder can show in green. Moreover, this can be done without connecting to a database.
And the process could take seconds.
How to find expired pharmaceutical bottles with smartphone scanning
A smart device application enabled with Scandit’s barcode scanning SDK can quickly locate expired medications. Here, it uses an additional feature that works with the SDK, MatrixScan with AR.
Scandit’s MatrixScan allows the smart device to scan multiple items at once. While the Barcode Scanning SDK offers superior scanning across low lit environments and even damaged barcodes. Together they do all the heavy lifting.
See the video below for a demonstration of how easy it could be.
Retail, transport, and manufacturing are just some other industries using Scandit’s MatrixScan and AR capability.
For example, retail employees can see stock levels by scanning products in a retail aisle. Airline staff can view passenger details from a boarding pass scan. And in healthcare, nurses cross-check patients with medication.
Better still. Using smart devices like a tablet or smartphone means the process can be achieved without buying expensive handheld devices.
Pull capsule boxes without requiring a database thanks to the GS1 barcode
The best bit is this can be done without access to a database or a network connection. Since the GS1 barcode has become standard for the pharmaceutical industry, we have all the necessary data. When it comes to pharmaceuticals, the GS1 contains four pieces of information:
- Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN)
- Lot number
- Serial number – for the exact unit
- Expiry date
The same barcode information can also be used to check for a recalled product as the barcode drills down to an individual item. This can even be used to check for a fake product by comparing the GTIN number with the lot and serial numbers to a known verification service.
Identifying Drugs and Drug-Related Information
There are many other use cases for smartphone scanning in the pharmacies.
Healthcare professionals have traditionally used peripheral barcode scanning hardware to identify prescriptions, take inventory, fill prescription orders, and more. All prescription drugs contain barcodes that enable identification.
Smartphones have become a more robust and versatile alternative to peripheral barcode scanning hardware. On top of that, they provide additional functionality at a similar cost. An excellent example of this is MatrixScan and AR.
Additionally, anti-microbial cases that are well suited for sterile environments are now readily available.
Using a durable and sterile smartphone-based solution can replace expensive peripheral hardware with a simple pharmacy app utilizing Scandit’s unique enterprise-grade barcode scanning technology.
Here are some typical uses for pharmacy apps:
- Scan to confirm a prescription is ready for pickup
- Accessing useful drug-related information such as drug interactions and side effects
- Prescription Identification
- Prescription Purchasing (Patient use case; depends on country regulations)
Adding Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK to a Pharmacy App
In addition to the GS1 barcode, the healthcare industry has used others like the UPC-B barcodes (as specified by the US National Drug Code), variations of EAN codes in Europe, and micro-Datamatrix codes.
Scandit’s enterprise-grade Barcode Scanner SDK can support these barcodes and many more symbologies with ease while providing a unique and smooth user experience.
The Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK delivers the speed and accuracy required to bring genuine enterprise-grade barcode scanning to smartphones and tablets.
So, let your smartphone or smart device take up the mundane tasks with Scandit’s MatrixScan and AR. And let your pharmacists do what they have been trained to do – help look after their people’s health.
Want to find out more about how Scandit’s barcode scanner SDK and augmented reality could help your pharmacy operations? Contact us for more information.